Test Taking Tips, Part 2: Decoding the Objectives

by Jason - Mar 31, 2016


Hello, everyone! Spring is here, baseball is about to start (which means excitement for some of us and a reason to nap for some of you, I am sure), and here at LearnKey we are finishing up our A+ 220-902 series of courses and ramping up our Office 2016 and Adobe CC 2015 Test Prep series. If you want details of those series, check out what I wrote two weeks ago on the subject.

Today, though, I want to continue a discussion I started months ago, that of test-taking tips. I outlined what I use as a comprehensive plan for preparing for and then taking certification tests. In many discussions with many students, one particular question comes up: How much attention to detail do we have to pay to each test objective?

That question actually has a two-part answer. First of all, you need to pay attention to every objective and every sub-objective. Anything on an objectives list is fair game for a test question, otherwise, the objective would not be listed. Avoid falling into the “I don’t use this so I don’t need to know this” trap. Remember, a certification test is testing your overall knowledge of a program, not what you are going to use the program for on the job. So, study and practice every objective, line-by-line.

The second part of the answer is this: Look for keywords in the objective descriptions and use that as your guide for how detailed you get with your study. To further explain this, here are some phrases we commonly see on test objectives:

Describe…

Given a scenario…

Identify…

Implement…

Install and Configure…

Notice that I’ve only listed the first few words of each type of objective. The reason is simple: first words mean a lot! To break this down further, when you see an objective that starts with “Describe” or “Identify”, yes, you need to practice the concept being covered. But, put your emphasis on the terms and definitions being covered in that area because that is most likely what test questions are going to focus on.

For test objectives which start with “Implement” or “Install and Configure” or something similar, you will definitely need to spend more time on those and be able to do the tasks given. Many of those objective descriptions end up as complicated multiple-choice or simulation questions on tests. Just knowing terms and definitions will not be enough to answer those questions.

For the “Given a scenario” or similarly described objectives, know both terms and definitions and practical application. Those objectives tend to appear on tests in what I like to call real-life or situational questions. So to best study those objectives, get as much hands-on, real-life practice as you can. And when those test questions appear, put yourself in the situation and answer accordingly.

To give you a specific example, the MTA Mobility and Device Fundamentals exam (Exam 98-368) has an objective to describe Active Directory Federation Services. The MCSA Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services exam (Exam 70-412) has an objective to implement Active Directory Federation Services. See the difference? For the MTA tests, which are good starting points for a certification track, knowing concepts will often suffice. However, for the MCSA tests, which are considered a higher level of certification than the MTA certifications, you are expected to be able to implement these concepts, not just describe them.

So the next time you are preparing to get a certification, take some time to do some objective “decoding” on your own. Use the descriptors for each set of objectives as your guide to help you better prepare for your certification tests.


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2016 Courses: Evaluation, Improvement, and Job Readiness

by Jason - Mar 16, 2016


A new year always means a fresh start here at LearnKey and a fresh evaluation of what we do, how we do it, and what we can do to make our courses the best possible courses they can be and, for you, our beloved customers, a rich and interactive learning experience to help you fulfill two main goals: get certified in your area of study and be job-ready in your area of study.

The vast majority of people looking to take online learning courses are looking either for a new career or to improve in their current careers. And, we have made job readiness a major part of what we do in our courses, how we do it, and which courses we do. Again, mastering an area of study is not just about obtaining a certification. It is also about obtaining job-ready skills.

With that comes some course and schedule adjustments. I am happy to tell you that to make these goals of getting as many people certified and job-ready in their careers of choice, we have the following four major tracks we are doing in 2016:

A+ 900 Series

Our A+ 900 series, THE certification for those looking to be certified and job-ready as computer technicians, is our hallmark series for this first quarter of 2016. We have already released the A+ 220-901 series of courses and soon, the 220-902 series of courses will start to roll out. These courses will really help those of you looking to get A+ certified and get you job-ready skills for a computer technician position.

Adobe CC 2015 Test Prep Series

Adobe has a new set of exams out for their CC 2015 series. These exams are different than older Adobe exams in that they are including scenario-based questions. We are constructing a series of test prep courses which, combined with our existing catalog of Adobe courses, will get you job-ready for positions such as photo editor, graphic designer, web designer, video editor, and animation artist. And, these test prep courses will get you ready to gain Adobe Certified Associate CC 2015 certifications.

Office 2016

Last week, I wrote about the new Tell Me feature in Office 2016. Our Office 2016 series will not only help you get your Microsoft Office Specialist certifications, but the series will also help you be job-ready for positions to where Microsoft Office programs need to be well-known. How are we doing this? Well, I can’t give away the details yet, but we will building these courses in a way to where you view these courses through the eyes of employees managing company data using Microsoft Office. A single “company” is going to be used for the entire Office suite of courses, giving you the continuity to see how these Office apps interact, and, further sharpen your job-ready skills.

The LearnKey Programming Track

Programming jobs have been in high demand since I have been in IT. And, with the advent of mobile devices and people needing information in many different ways, programming jobs will continue to be in high demand. So I am very excited to tell you that this fall we will be launching an entire suite of programming courses, from an Introduction to Programming course (something I wish I had when I was learning this stuff) to building web applications to higher-end programming courses. Again, the focus will be getting you (if you want to get into a programming career) the job-ready skills needed to be a successful programmer.

I mentioned earlier that there are schedule adjustments and with adjustments, some programs come aboard (like our new programming track) and some programs ride off into the sunset. And for us, the program we are suspending is our Project Management suite of courses, including PMP, CAPM, and Microsoft Project courses. We do so with the goals in mind I mentioned earlier, to help as wide of an audience as possible reach their certification and career goals. You may notice that the four series of courses I’ve outlined in this blog fit a common theme: they are all series of courses geared toward people looking for a career or looking to improve their current career situations. That is the audience that makes up the vast majority of people who take online learning courses, it is the vast majority of our audience, and these adjustments are going to help us help you fulfill your certification and job-ready goals for 2016.


Microsoft Office 2016’s “Tell Me” Feature

by Jason - Mar 10, 2016


Hello everyone! Office 2016, released last fall, is not a major upgrade over Office 2013, but it does have some nice new features. Over the next few months, this blog space will occasionally introduce a few of those features as we coincide this with our producing an entire suite of Office 2016 courses this summer.

All of our Office 2016 courses will get you ready for both the Microsoft Office Specialist certification for Office 2016 (due out later this year) and, more importantly for many of you, get you job-ready for any position requiring proficiency in Microsoft Office. We will be building courses for Word 2016, Excel 2016, PowerPoint 2016, Outlook 2016, and Access 2016. I am lining up on-camera outfits to color-coordinate with the theme colors of Office as we speak (OK, maybe I’m not but you will have to get the courses to find out).

Anyway, here is a new feature in Office 2016: the “Tell me” feature. This is a big enhancement over the standard help feature as you can click in the “Tell me what you want to do” box. In Excel 2016, it looks just like this:

Tell me what you want to do button

So, you can click in the box and type a phrase for what you want to do. In this example, I typed “add a page break” and look what I got:

Add a page break screenshot

Needless to say, this is a big help in the Help feature (pun intended). Keep checking back for updates on our suite of Office 2016 courses.


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CompTIA A+ (220-901) Series Released!

by Brad - Mar 01, 2016


Today we are excited to announce the release of our A+ (220-901) Series courses. Authored by LearnKey expert Jason Manibog, LearnKey’s A+ (220-901) Series includes the four domains that are covered in CompTIA exam 220-901. This series thoroughly covers the objectives in each domain and will prepare students for A+ exam 220-901. The A+ (220-901) Series includes four domains and one complete series course:

The A+ (220-901) Series is Part 1 of a two-part series required for full A+ certification. Part 2, the A+ (220-902) Series, is scheduled for release in about a month.

Our hope is that through our courseware we may provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed. For more information and to learn about additional LearnKey products visit our website.


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